Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Jasminder Singh, Radisson Edwardian

01 July 2011
Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Jasminder Singh, Radisson Edwardian

Overall ranking: 94 (ranked 71 in 2010)

Contract catering ranking: 19 (ranked 17 in 2010)

Jasminder Singh is the founder, chairman and chief executive of Radisson Edwardian Hotels, one of London's largest privately-owned hotel groups. It operates an award-winning collection of 14 luxury four- and five-star hotels - 13 Radisson Edwardian properties, including a new hotel in Guildford, Surrey, due to open this summer, and the May Fair hotel. They range in size from 58 to 459 bedrooms, with 11 in central London, the others in Heathrow, Manchester and Guildford.

The group, which is owned by Edwardian Hotels, has a franchise agreement with US-based Radisson Hotels Worldwide (owned by Carlson) to run its properties under the Radisson Edwardian banner.

Jasminder Singh - Career guide

Jasminder Singh, who is of Punjabi descent, was born in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in 1951. He came to the UK in 1968, qualified as an accountant with Hacker & Young and made his first move into the hotel market in 1975.

He founded Edwardian Hotels in 1977 with the acquisition of the Edwardian hotel in London, which he led to join with Radisson in 1993 to become the Radisson Edwardian Hotels group.

Singh is a non-executive director of HSBC, a board member of the Warwick Business School and a member of Brunel University's Court. He received an honorary doctorate from the University of Stirling and was appointed OBE in 2007 for his services to the hotel industry.

Singh is regarded as one of the richest Punjabis outside India, and his £415m fortune assures him regular appearances in the Sunday Times Rich List - this year up £85m to No.193 and No.5 on the Asian UK Rich List.

Jasminder Singh - What we think

The fact that in the worst recession on record Singh's fortune has grown by £85m says much about this hotelier. Not one for the hotel circuit, his mission with Radisson Edwardian has been to provide an alternative to "formal and stuffy" traditional hotels and "artificial, pretentious" boutique properties.

He is renowned for taking a hands-on approach to management. Singh, with his senior managers, visits each property between 5.30am and 8.30am each morning to support frontline staff. The company eschews the property-based general manager's role, preferring its heads of departments to work together to run each hotel. Its merit-based career paths, dedication to training and incentives schemes saw it scoop a Best Places to Work in Hospitality award from Caterer in 2006.

Singh is also one with an eye for the bigger picture. The marketing arrangement he signed with Radisson Hotels Worldwide in 1991 was the first European franchising deal for its owner, the Carlson Hospitality Group, and the world's first dual-branding deal. It gave Radisson Edwardian the marketing muscle of the US giant but allowed Singh to retain control over pricing and strategy - and thus the individuality of the collection.

In 2008, a TV documentary that alleged shocking hygiene practices and substandard staff training at the hotel group threatened to momentarily derail Radisson Edwardian. But Singh has continued to impress, picking up the Asian Business Awards' Hotelier of the Year title in 2010, while his Manchester property was crowned Large Hotel of the Year for the third time at the North West Tourism Awards 2010.

Last year also saw the group awarded a Platinum award in London Mayor Boris Johnson's Green 500 scheme recognising initiatives that are part of a radical ten year programme to create the greenest hotel group in the capital.

His latest addition, a £60m development of the historic White Horse hotel is due to open this summer. It will see a 185-room Radisson Edwardian hit Guildford town centre, featuring two restaurants and two bars designed by Gorgeous Group, a spa, gym, conference and meeting rooms.

Jasminder Singh's ranking in the 2010 100 >>

Anthony Lee appointed GM of the May Fair hotel >>

Radisson Edwardian in TV exposé >>

Asian entrepreneurs present best way to succeed >>" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">
Radisson Edwardian website >>

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